Commercial building energy efficiency guidance delivers 'vital clarity' for business
This week's publication of the Government's guidance about the new minimum efficiency standard for privately rented commercial buildings has been welcomed by the industry for providing "vital clarity" to businesses.
The energy efficiency regulations mean that private non-domestic landlords must ensure that properties they rent in England and Wales from April 2018 reach an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of E before granting a tenancy to new or existing tenants.
The document provides guidance which informs landlords whether their property is covered by the regulations, and the steps they should take to ensure their property complies with the minimum level of efficiency. The text also recommends how a landlord can identify appropriate energy-efficiency improvements and calculate whether particular upgrades would be cost-effective to install.
The Government publication was supported by the industry group UK-Green Building Council (UK-GBC). “We warmly welcome the publication today of guidance for minimum energy efficiency standards,” UK-GBC’s campaign & policy director John Alker said.
“The regulations have already had a galvanising effect on the commercial property industry, which has been working hard for the last few years to prepare for these regulations. This guidance provides vital clarity to commercial landlords about compliance and enforcement ahead of the regulations coming into force next April.
“We now need to see the same clarity from Government in relation to privately rented homes, to ensure that this crucial piece of legislation lives up to its potential - reducing energy bills for households and businesses alike.”
The energy used for heating and powering the UK’s non-domestic buildings is responsible for around 12% of the country’s emissions. Around 60% of today’s non-domestic buildings will still exist in 2050, which means that minimum standards to drive improvements in the performance of the existing stocks through energy efficiency upgrades will be essential.
The Government hopes that increased demand for energy-efficiency measures will support growth and jobs within the green construction industry, and that greater competition will spur innovation and lower the end-costs of installing measures for businesses.
As building regulations continue to set more challenging minimum efficiency standards for building fabric and services, those buildings with inherent problems with construction will find it increasingly difficult to achieve compliance, according to Delta-Simons sustainability consultant Dan Ellis.
An independent review into energy efficiency and home renewable energy measures was launched in December to call for greater consumer protection through a new framework and quality mark. The Bonfield review was launched in June 2015 by Government after the Green Deal scheme was closed.
The Energy Company Obligation (Eco), which requires suppliers to install energy-efficiency measures such as loft installation in customer’s homes, will enter a transitional year in March until the revised programme is set out in 2018.